Sinclair Prunes Station Holdings To Prepare for Tribune Acquisition

HUNT VALLEY, MD--Sinclair Broadcast Group announced April 24 that it has entered into definitive agreements with six separate parties to sell a total of 23 television stations upon completion of its acquisition of Tribune Media Group.

The divestiture is part of the broadcast group’s strategy to reduce its TV station holdings to obtain government approval for its purchase of Tribune as well as other business purposes, Sinclair said. The sale of the stations, which is expected to be completed by the end of Q2 2018, also is subject to FCC approval and customary closing conditions.

Buyers include Standard Media Group LLC, Meredith Corp., Howard Stirk, Cunningham Broadcasting Corp., WGN-TV LLC and a sixth party to be announced upon the Tribune acquisition, Sinclair said. Following the sale, Sinclair will provide services to WGN-TV LLC pursuant to joint sales and shared services.

[Read: Sinclair Is Divesting WGN, WPIX, But...]

Standard Media, an affiliate of Standard General L.P., separately announced it will pay $441.7 million for nine Sinclair stations and Meredith announced it will pay $65 million for its sole station acquisition from Sinclair. Cunningham and Howard Stirk were not available for comment at the time of this writing.

The stations, by buyer, include:

Cunningham Broadcasting
KDAF (Dallas, CW, DMA-5)

KIAH (Houston, CW, DMA 7)

KPLR-TV (St. Louis, CW, DMA 21)

Standard Media
KOKH (Oklahoma City, Fox, DMA-41)

WXMI (Grand Rapids, Mich., Fox, DMA-43)

WPMT (Harrisburg, Pa., Fox, DMA-45)

WXLV (Greensboro, N.C., ABC, DMA-48)

WRLH (Richmond, Va., Fox, DMA-55)

WOLF (Wilkes Barre, Pa., Fox, DMA-57)

WQMY (Wilkes Barre, MNT)

WSWB (Wilkes Barre, CW)

KDSM (Des Moines, Iowa, Fox, DMA-68)

Howard Stirk
KUNS (Seattle, Univision, DMA-12)

KMYU (Salt Lake City, MNT, DMA-30)

KAUT-TV (Oklahoma City, Independent, DMA-41)

KCPQ (Seattle, Fox, DMA-12)

WSFL-TV (Miami, CW, DMA-16)

KDVR (Denver, Fox, DMA-17)

WJW, (Cleveland, Fox, DMA-19)

KTXL (Sacramento, Fox, DMA-20)

KSWB-TV (San Diego, Fox, DMA- 29)

KSTU (Salt Lake City, Fox, DMA-30)

WGN-TV (Chicago, Independent, DMA-3)

“After a very robust divestiture process, with strong interest from many parties, we have achieved healthy multiples on the stations we are divesting,” said Chris Ripley, Sinclair president and CEO.

“While we continue to believe that we had a strong and supportable rationale for not having to divest stations, we are happy to announce this significant step forward in our plan to create a leading broadcast platform with local focus and national reach. The combined company will continue to advance industry technology, including the Next Generation Broadcast Platform, and to benefit from significant revenue and expense synergies,” he said.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.